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Convertible Commander: Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Inspiration strikes in funny ways. If you're anything like me with this game, you spend time thinking about new decks you'd like to build and play, wondering if they'll work, if they'll compete, if they'll be fun to pilot or play against (or both), if your playgroup will like them. A really nice thing about this format is we don't have to think of it the way a professional team has to. Their job is to determine what will give them the best chance to win, because ultimately they want to win and take home the prize. All we want to do is something we enjoy. So we hunt around. We look through boxes of old cards in the back of comic book shops, we anxiously peruse visual spoilers looking for Legendary creatures, and we think about ideas we'd like to try in decks. Several of the new potential commanders from the soon-to-arrive Commander 2018 product are interesting to me. We'll talk about more of them in future articles for certain, but one of them jumped out at me right away. It's abusable and fun, with great potential to win, but without too much work we can make sure it's not so dominating it's completely un-fun. It also plays in a couple of spaces I (personally) tend to avoid, mostly because of preference: tokens and combo.

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper


Call the Skybreaker
This deck attempts to leverage Brudiclad's second ability to kill the table in a single, massive strike. If the deck is mostly left alone, it can likely build enough tokens naturally (using things like Emrakul's Hatcher and Myr Battlesphere) that a single cast of Call the Skybreaker (then turning all the little 0/1s into 5/5 fliers) will likely end the game. However, opponents have a tendency to mess with each other, which means it's likely we'll run into someone playing Infest or Wrath of God or Cyclonic Rift. Fortunately, we have several ways to go infinite. Rather than the traditional model of tutors, though, we've got a bunch of different ways to do it and some card draw.

One more quick note before we dive in to the particulars. In addition to creature tokens, this deck also makes treasure and clue tokens. Treasure helps power out some of our bigger spells, especially because our opening hands can be kind of clunky, and the mana can help smooth things out later. Clues are great because they hang around and draw cards, plus they give us sacrifice fodder in the event of an Annihilator trigger or some other nonsense. But Brudiclad's ability allows us to turn all of our tokens into any token we have, so we could, if we wanted to, turn our creature tokens into Treasures or Clues. Clues could be useful if we're digging for a specific card. Treasures, on the other hand, would be really fun if one were to add, say, Comet Storm to the deck. Turn a million tokens into Treasures, sac them all for a million mana, and shoot it all at faces.

40 lands, people, 40 lands. The legendary (though not Commander-legal) Frank Karsten ran the numbers, and while his are for 60 card decks, they're applicable to Commander. 60:24 as 100:40. That means, since we're always on the draw, if we run 40 lands, we have an 80% chance of hitting our fourth land drop on turn four, but only a 63% chance of hitting that fifth land! Running 38 lands is close to running 23, which loses us three and four percentage points. At 35 lands, we're somewhere between 20 and 21 for a 60-card, which means we have a less than 50% chance of hitting our fifth land. In Commander! Make allowances for draw and ramp, sure, but seriously, 40 lands. Run a few rocks while you're at it. You'll be happier if you can actually cast your spells, and fix flood by running cards that let you do things with the mana. Also, some Deserts and lands make tokens, which is a use for the mana if we flood.

Mind Unbound
We've got some draw in here, mostly in the form of sorceries which draw a few cards. Ideally, we draw Mind Unbound and stick it for a few turns; that spell is wonderful when it lives for three turns or more. We also make a lot of tokens, and we should feel free to use those however we can to stay alive and keep going: block a lot, sacrifice them for mana when you can, whatever. We've also got a few answer spells: a few basic removal spells, plus some artifact removal and the like. We're in Blue, and a few counter spells seemed to make sense, so we've got the ones which make some tokens. Counterflux is the only outlier, because that spell is really good. Sometime, someone who plays this deck is going to cast that in response to something ridiculous, and it will be amazing. In the meantime, it might just stop a Tragic Arrogance the turn before we're set to go off.

The deck is going to win with tokens. The question is this: will it win with a finite number of large tokens, or an infinite number of whatever tokens we've got? The answer will depend on what is drawn.

Call the Skybreaker puts a 5/5 flier on the ‘field. If there are 18 tokens or so kicking around, that'll make 20 5/5s when attacking with haste from the commander, who even adds one at the beginning of the attack phase. That's 100 damage in the air.

Stone Idol Trap makes a 6/12 with Trample. It only sticks around till your next end step, but that's okay, because that's plenty of time to go off.

Stolen Identity can make a token copy of anything on the battlefield. If someone else has a 12/12 or whatever, we can copy that then make all our tokens 12/12.

Meanwhile, we've got cards like Intruder Alarm.

Intruder Alarm
Intruder Alarm plus Myr Turbine and March of the Machines means every time we tap the Turbine to make a creature, it untaps (it's a creature thanks to March of the Machines). So we make infinite Myr. Or if we have Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Walking Atlas with Intruder Alarm, we can bounce a basic land over and over (tap it for 1, bounce it, make a token, untap Walking Atlas. Tap the Atlas, play the land, repeat) and go infinite.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker partners nicely as well. With Zealous Conscripts it will make infinite Conscripts token copies; we play the Conscripts and target Kiki-Jiki, which untaps it. We tap it again, making a copy of Conscripts, targeting Kiki again, making infinite 3/3s. This classically works with Pestermite and Deceiver Exarch as well, and Kiki can be replaced with Splinter Twin. And, of course, Kiki-Jiki plus Intruder Alarm goes infinite all by itself (well, we need a target to copy, but any ol' thing will do). Replace Krenko, Mob Boss with Kiki for infinite Goblins.

Umbral Mantle is kind of a slow Intruder Alarm; it partners well with Kiki-Jiki and, say, Emrakul's Hatcher and Ashnod's Altar. That gives us infinite mana as well, but we won't really need it. While we're at it, that same thing works with Nim Deathmantle in place of the Umbral Mantle, because we can sac the Hatcher and a token for 4 and return it with the Deathmantle, giving us two tokens each time around. Thornbite Staff will untap something when anything dies, so with Splinter Twin and the Staff on Myr Battlesphere and a Spawning Pit on the ‘field, you'll make infinite Myr that way.

Explore the cards; I'm certain there are more combos than that. One of the fun things about playing a deck like this is figuring out if we've got a way to win in the cards when we see what we draw!

To build our Optionboard, let's start with what we're going to remove.

Removing these 10 cards effectively removes all infinite combos from the deck. There may be a wayward manner to go crazy still hidden there, but it's going to severely limit the capability and make it much harder to hit one. Then we're going to slot Brudiclad into the 98 and promote Rowan and Will Kenrith to lead. We become a relatively aggressive token deck, so we'll probably want some more ways to disrupt our opponent and punch through our damage.

We get a couple of things to play with the twins, plus some ways to tap down our opponents' boards to allow us to alpha strike with our tokens, and a few more ways to mess with their plans. This version of the deck isn't weaker, it's just a bit fairer, and will play a bit more nicely. It can still dump a surprising amount of power onto the battlefield in short order and win out of nowhere, though.

What are you most excited about from C18? Anything you would have done differently here? Let us know in the comments! We love hearing what you have to say.

Now get out there and make some tokens. Maybe prepare a few with the symbol for infinity on them.

Thanks for reading.